Desirable difficulties

When you are placed in a situation that is not ideal, the trick is to distance yourself from your thoughts on the situation. The situation is neither good nor bad. It just is. Think about how you will feel about the situation in the far future. This helps to minimize its significance.

In addition, there are things that Malcolm Gladwell calls ‘desirable difficulties’. These are difficulties that people are forced to cope with that with enough time and perspective become desirable. They are difficulties that force you to act a certain way, which due to the situation is different than the course of action others take.

There are certain advantages to be gained from this. One example Gladwell gives is that a much higher proportion than the general population of US Presidents lost a parent at a young age (I believe Obama was the most recent). These were undoubtedly desirable difficulties, and look where it got them.

I also like to think of these not ideal situations as a way of finding out what you want to do. If a situation is not ideal for you, it gives you an idea of what would be ideal, which gives you a goal to work towards.

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